Norman Rockwell Museum Presents “Dancing Princesses: The Picture Book Art of Ruth Sanderson”

Norman Rockwell Museum Presents “Dancing Princesses: The Picture Book Art of Ruth Sanderson”
Saturday, December 7, 2013 – Sunday, March 9, 2014

One of the special holiday displays in the Norman Rockwell Museum’s “Distinguished Illustrator Series” this winter will feature over 60 works by noted picture book illustrator Ruth Sanderson. Described as “beautiful” and “jewel-like,” by NRM director, Laurie Norton Moffatt, the works on display include original paintings and drawings by Sanderson, in addition to costumes that the artist commissioned to correspond with her illustrations. The subjects of these works hail from a selection of Sanderson’s beloved books – some classic tales re-told, some original tales, and each one embellished with enchanting imagery – including The Twelve Dancing Princesses; The Sleeping Beauty; Cinderella; The Golden Mare, the Firebird, and the Magic Ring; and several others…

Stories about princes and princesses, and quests and bravery in the face of extraordinary odds, have remained an essential part of our culture’s foundation, shared by parents and children for many generations— they have also inspired countless artists along the way. A renowned fantasy artist and illustrator of children’s literature, Ruth Sanderson has created imagery for more than 75 picture books, many of which bring such classic tales to life. Norman Rockwell Museum will present “Dancing Princesses: The Picture Book Art of Ruth Sanderson” from December 7, 2013 through March 9, 2014.

Students and viewers of all ages will delight in this picturesque exhibition. Whether you grew up reading books illustrated by Sanderson – or reading them to your children, grandchildren or students now – or have no prior knowledge of her work, you’ll smile at the bright, lovingly detailed worlds she has created. The stories themselves are equally alluring: “The archetypal characters and the symbolism that one finds in fairy tales contain truths that are universal and can be as meaningful for children today as they have been for centuries past,” noted Sanderson.

Both Norman Rockwell and Ruth Sanderson grew up in Massachusetts. It seems fitting that their names and their art should be united in the region in which they each drew their first pictures and read their first picture books.

The Norman Rockwell Museum is open year-round; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. From May through October, hours are 10am to 5pm daily; from November through April, hours are 10am to 4pm Monday through Friday, and 10am to 5pm on weekends and holidays. Admission is $16, $14.50 for seniors, $10 for students, $5 for kids, and teens 6 to 18, and free for Museum members, active military personnel, and children 5 and under. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183. Stockbridge, MA.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum is hosting a series of public events and workshops throughout the next few months, including an exhibition opening reception from 4-7pm on Saturday, November 7, and drop-in picture-book-making workshops from 1-4pm the week of Monday, December 23 through Saturday the 28th (except the 25th).

Exhibition-Related Programs and Events:

EXHIBITION OPENING: Saturday, December 7, 4 to 7 p.m.
Dancing Princesses: The Fairy Tale Art of Ruth Sanderson – Celebrate the wonder of fairy tales at the opening of this magical exhibition featuring stunning picture book illustration art by Ruth Sanderson. This special holiday installation will explore the process and inspirations for “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” complete with original paintings and studies, photographic references, and the opulent costumes that Sanderson designed and commissioned for inclusion in her images. Members free; guests free with Museum admission. Comments at 4:30 p.m. by Ruth Sanderson

SCHOOL VACATION WEEK WORKSHOPS: December 23 through 28 (closed on the 25th), 1 to 4 p.m.
Picture Books! – Invent your own story lines and design characters, plots, and settings inspired by the picture book art on display during this creative series of drop-in art workshops for children of all ages. Share your children’s book with family and friends! Free with Museum admission, members free.

FAMILY DAY: Saturday, January 11, 1 to 4 p.m.
Dance! – Dance and enjoy Dancing Princesses and the art of Ruth Sanderson. Talented dancers from Berkshire Ballroom will demonstrate and teach basic ballroom steps, and dancer Hattie McLean will offer an interactive look at the history of dance. Exhibition tours, readings and a book signing with Ruth Sanderson, and art making for all. Free with Museum admission, members free.

PAINTING WORKSHOP: Saturday, February 1, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Art of Fantasy with illustrator Ruth Sanderson – Enjoy this inspired look at mood, composition, and narrative in oil painting with noted picture book artist Ruth Sanderson. Examine the portrayal of a single figure in a simple but elegant composition. Bring figure and landscape photos for reference, and/or include some of Ms. Sanderson’s own costumed figures and backgrounds. Starting with a thumbnail drawing, students will create a finished illustration in oils. $35, $25 members. Pre-register at, or call 413.931.2221

SCHOOL VACATION WEEK WORKSHOPS: February 17 through 21, 1 to 5 p.m.
Fact or Fiction? Every Picture Tells a Story – Explore how the art of Norman Rockwell, Ruth Sanderson, and Wendell Minor tell stories in pictures, and create artworks in mixed media that express your own ideas in these special drop-in workshops for all ages. Free with museum admission, members free.

2 Comments on “Norman Rockwell Museum Presents “Dancing Princesses: The Picture Book Art of Ruth Sanderson”

  1. I am looking forward to taking my children to see this exhibit! What beautiful illustrations.

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